Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Applications for Red Stocking, the Vineyard’s own effort to provide food and clothing for Island children from birth through grade eight, will be available by Nov. 1. Last year Red Stocking provided for over 375 children in need of neighborly assistance. Applications may be obtained at most branches of all Island banks, at Martha’s Vineyard Insurance Co. in Vineyard Haven, as well as at all elementary schools, at Early Childhood Programs of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, at tribal headquarters in Aquinnah as well as at the Massachusetts Department of Families and Children, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club and the Island Food Pantry. Applications will also be available at the Health Care Access office where assistance will be available for Portuguese speaking families (508-696-0020).

Parents are strongly urged to apply early, preferably by Nov. 20, so they may receive food vouchers prior to Thanksgiving. Wrapping will be done at Grace Church on Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 15-17. Volunteer wrappers may call Patricia Carlet to let her know when they are available to help. The Martha’s Vineyard Harley Riders will be riding around the Island on Sunday, Nov. 9, collecting donations and toys. The public is invited to welcome them at noon at the Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs. For the past several years the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore has very generously contributed a book for each child. On behalf of all the children they have helped over the years, we wish the Nelson family well in their rebuilding efforts. This year we will be accepting donations of new children’s books appropriate for children up through grade eight. Books may be left at most branches of town public libraries or at the Coogan Law offices in Vineyard Haven. For information call Kerry Alley at 508-693-2324 or Lorraine Clark at 508-693-0725. Checks in support of Red Stocking may be mailed to Barbara Silvia, treasurer, at P.O. Box 74, Vineyard Haven Ma. 02568.

Kerry Alley

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Art for Obama event praised in your Oct. 17 editorial was part of an occasional phenomenon in U.S. politics: the rapid spread of a belief in the superior qualities of a young politician, based not on what he has done, but on what he promises to do. Intelligently organized, the believers can take over an existing party, thrusting aside its established leadership, and securing its presidential nomination for their man.

In 1896 it was Boy Orator William Jennings Bryan, who championed free silver against the gold standard, the banks, and Wall Street. His Cross of Gold speech won him the Democratic nomination, much to the dismay of more conservative elements, but he lost the election. His followers remained as loyal as ever, securing him the nomination two more times, but sadly with the same result. Voters did not trust his economics.

In a time when the country is fed up with the incompetence of the Bush-Cheney Republican administration, Senator Obama has better prospects. He has a pleasing personality, the unusual name and features from his absentee Kenyan father far outweighed by the upbringing by his thoroughly American mother and his Columbia-Harvard Law education. His speeches, delivered with few oratorical flourishes, promise logical solutions to everyday problems, and the inexplicable magic of charisma makes his hearers believe him, and volunteer in his campaign.

Bryan was quoted: “The people are for free silver; therefore I am for free silver — I’ll look up the arguments later!” Senator Obama has usually taken the popular side — against the Iraq war, for the Afghan war — but always giving plausible reasons. On hot-button issues, such as abortion, he seeks positions that will offend the fewest people. By a general promise of change, he gives all voters the hope that the changes will be in their favor.

Senator Obama has been particularly astute on organization. By rejecting public financing, the first to do so since 1976, he has opened the floodgates of untraceable Internet donations. Not only does this mean far more TV ads for him than for his opponent, he has set up more offices in every state where his volunteers can work. Follow the money.

Early in the evening of Nov. 4, by all indications, the TV networks will be competing to be the first to tell us that Senator Obama has won. Then next Jan. 20 he will take the oath of office, and begin to face the terrible realities of Washington. After that his hopeful followers and the Gazette can begin to evaluate how beneficial their efforts were for the country.

W.R. Deeble

West Tibury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This Nov. 4 election has generated much spirited conversation and controversy not only in the presidential campaign, but also in the local contest for our district state representative. That is as it should be. We live in a democracy. General disagreement is to be expected. However, anger and rudeness need not be part of the rhetoric. Nor should innuendo and needless persecution. We should all know by now that Barack Obama is not a Muslim, that he does not associate with terrorists, that as a democrat he has the support of many unions, that compared to his opponent he is relatively new to government.

The same appreciation for the struggle of truth and fair-mindedness should be applied to all our candidates. Regardless of our choice for state representative, whoever wins should move forward with joint support from all of us, not continuing corrosive attitudes, and with our gratitude for taking on the myriad difficulties of political office.

Barbara Day

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In response to Margaret Penicaud’s letter of Oct. 24, I feel that a vote for John McCain is a vote not only for four more disastrous years of George Bush but a vote for regressing to a terrible time in our history for women. When abortion was legalized it provided a safe, sterile choice for women, eliminating the sleazy back street abortions and various other methods that have been used for centuries that sicken, maim and kill women. The mainstream approved this amendment and that is how democracy works.

I can think of no instance where abortion destroyed peace, but I can recall many wars fought and being fought when one religion tries to dominate all people of a state. When two rival religions vie for control the result is bloodshed. Look at the fighting around the world in the past and in the present. We can look deep into outer space, we can scientifically improve our health, but we cannot figure out how to get along harmoniously on this small planet.

The American Constitution was designed with the separation of church and state, and while that hasn’t totally occurred, it remains the instrument allowing choice today. In the spirit of tolerance and in the name of democracy, women have been allowed legally to make a choice. No woman is denied the same rights as a man, no woman is forced to wear a burkha in this country. Women are free in America.

Lyn Hinds



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We are writing to urge voters in Tisbury to vote yes on Question Five in the Nov. 4 election. This question will allow the town to continue planning for the new emergency services building that voters approved to construct at the site of the present annex building at our recent town meeting. Tisbury’s planning board, emergency services committee and board of selectmen have worked hard to thoroughly explore alternatives and come to consensus on not only the site, but the effect of the chosen site on other municipal buildings and services.

This new building will address several infrastructure problems, not the least of which are an aging fire station located in a flood plain and an ambulance barn in an accessible back corner of a busy downtown parking lot across from the SSA. Further, the town is mandated to purchase a replacement ambulance in the next two years, and ambulances small enough to fit into our current garage at the police station are no longer manufactured. This proposed consolidation of services into a new site is a necessary start to solve one of our town’s critical and longstanding concerns — moving emergency services out of the most congested and flood-prone area of our town.

The town accountant reassured voters that our credit rating is solid, that we have been paying down our old debt and that we are not going out on a financial limb with this borrowing — despite a time a economic downturn. The town is required by state regulations to expend a certain amount of money to develop plans for the project ad hire a project manager. The voters will be able to weigh in on plans for the emergency services building only after they are developed and presented at the spring town meeting. Please vote yes on Question Five to keep the project on course.

Melinda Loberg

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In 2007 the Tisbury fire chief presented an article for a full-time position at an annual pay of $52,805. The voters expressed themselves clearly by voting the position down — and they thought it was finished.

Guess what? It has reared its head again. Last year (2008) the Tisbury fire chief put pen to paper and wrote his own budget. Salaries in his budget were presented at town meeting as one line containing three top positions. There was no discussion of any major change in his budget and the voters unknowingly gave him a raise of $35,306. Interestingly, this was one dollar more than we voted down in 2007.

Budgets must be passed by the selectmen and the finance committee before they go to town meeting. Who is going to accept blame for this excessive pay increase, not to mention misuse of power? The people we put into office are supposed to protect us from this kind of behavior.

In communities all over the country budgets are being scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. Who thought this would not be found?

Out of curiosity I researched the salaries of other Island fire chiefs. Here is what I found: Oak Bluffs, $12,000 (part-time); Edgartown, $20,000 (part-time); Chilmark, $19,500 (part-time); West Tisbury, $19,500 (part-time); Aquinnah, $5,535 (part-time); Tisbury, $52,806 (part-time!).

No chiefs received any extra pay for working with, designing or building their new or renovated fire stations.

We deserve honest men and women to represent this town. Loyalty issues are coming to light; this is a disgrace to the town and hopefully there will be a change by the next town meeting. This salary is not written in stone. The spring town meeting can reverse this misuse of power and the fire chief’s salary can be returned to $17,500, what it should be for a part-time position.

This has been the talk of all the fire departments throughout the Island.

We are going to vote on Nov. 4. Please vote no on Question Five to override the preconstruction planning on the new fire station. Now is not the time. Our department is in enough turmoil.

Sue Tonry

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Anyone who goes off Martha’s Vineyard has connections in Falmouth; in addition to the ferry there is shopping for goods and services not available on the Island as well as transportation beyond. Melissa Freitag from West Falmouth has all the qualifications and educational background, work in finance and economics, service on town committees to be effective as a state representative. A teacher at Cape Cod Community College, she can communicate, is well-versed in government policy and has the ability to connect on the state house level. Melissa Freitag is energy personified, with vigor, humor and balance to serve us, to open the existing budget process for us to receive the revenues and resources to support health, education and emergency services. She would be in close contact with us and truly represent us.

Alison D. Cannon



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a registered nurse who has worked at the bedside for over 36 years, I’m excited Dan Larkosh has chosen to run for the state house. Dan understands the critical role nurses play in the quality of care patients receive in our hospitals. Dan supports setting a limit on the number of patients a nurse in the hospital must care for at one time and having the department of public health set and oversee these limits. When nurses are caring for too many patients, studies show that hospital acquired infections rise and the patients stay in the hospital longer because they are not getting the care they need. In Massachusetts 2,000 people die annually because of medical complications that could have been avoided if RN staffing was better. Dan understands this and I am looking forward to voting for him on Nov. 4.

Rick Lambos



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As we enter the waning hours of this seemingly endless, yet exhilarating, campaign, I pause to recognize two astute, political junkies who would have relished the final denouement of this election.

I miss the vibrant enthusiasm and cogent comments of John Walter of Vineyard Stories and Tim Russert of Meet the Press. Each, in his own way, would have relished this exciting election cycle.

Thomas Dresser

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

People who shop at the Edgartown or Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop have used the discount slip they receive with their grocery receipt for gas on the Cape. It can be used at either Christy’s gas or the Stop & Shop gas stations off-Island. Many people are not aware of the fact that Stop & Shop has stopped issuing these slips that get us 10 cents off per gallon; instead they have initiated a point system toward gas at these off-Island stations and have offered them to everyone except those of us on the Vineyard and Nantucket! When I spoke to someone at the Edgartown store he gave me a slip with a phone number to call or address to e-mail or write. It is totally unacceptable that we are being left out of this program, especially since we pay quite a bit more for our groceries than thos e folks who live off-Island. If you’d like to let them know how you feel please e-mail them at, or phone 1-800-767-7772 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or write to Stop & Shop Co., Consumer Affairs Dept., P.O. Box 55888, Boston MA. 02205-5888.

Betsy Macdonald

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It was with great interest that I read the editorial titled Jobless in the Oct. 24 edition. Although the unemployment rate of the Island is below 3 per cent, it may camouflage the real issues of making a year-round living on Martha’s Vineyard. The fact is, many people juggle a variety of jobs during the season in order to barely sustain themselves during the traditional jobless season.

For many years, Women Empowered has served a population of Islanders who struggle with the issues of working hard in low paying jobs, inadequate health care coverage, the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing. These are the employees that support our seasonal economy. The focus of Women Empowered is to assist people to manage and decrease their debt and develop realistic family budgets. But, the best budget in the world can’t make up for not having enough money at the end of the month.

I agree with the concept of collaboration. I would suggest that the public, nonprofit and private sectors tackle the issues. Together, we can find the courage, creativity and invention to develop innovative ideas to address these structural problems. Please join me in this endeavor.

Sheila Bracy

Vineyard Haven

Sheila Bracy is executive director of Women Empowered.


Sunday I was fortunate enough to catch Norma at the Capawock, the third opera movie I’ve managed to get this year, and I wanted to thank Mr. Hall publicly for bringing these wonderful performances to us. Unfortunately the audiences are never what the productions deserve. Scenery, costumes, music, singing and acting — gone are the days of singers standing woodenly about — all are superb, and the subtitles are easy to read. You can conveniently follow the story, even if you have not had time to read the notes provided.

I used to look forward to seeing live opera when I go to abroad; frankly the view is much more satisfying from my movie seat than any spot in a real opera house I can afford. Now, Mr. Hall has added ballet performances to the lineup. Come check them out.

Alicia Lesnikowski

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The family of Ursula Prada wishes to send out heartfelt thanks to the following; the communications center, the Edgartown police and the Edgartown ambulance for their speedy response when Ursula collapsed. A huge thank you goes out to our family, especially our cousins, Cindy Bonnell, Irene Resendes and Jo-Ann Resendes (who gets cousin of the year for creating and maintaining the care pages and helping Barbara with computer questions) for being a very supportive presence for Barbara and for driving her to Boston, etc. We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful family.

We would also like to thank Bill, Donna, Will and Jimmy Bishop for volunteering to care for Barbara and Ursula’s pets during this time. Another thank you goes out to Kim Kane for doing doggy play dates with her dog. A big thank you goes out to Pam Dolby (town administrator) and Marilyn Wortman (personnel board) for thoroughly checking out what benefits Ursula was entitled to.

Barbara also thanks her assistants Kate Vanderhoop and Jennifer Morgan and all her friends (too many to name) for helping her in numerous ways. Finally, we would like to thank the community at large for all their kind words and prayers. We are lucky to live in such a supportive community.

Ursula is doing very well, except for vision problems, but she is seeing a neuro-eye doctor this week and will probably have to have surgery. She then might be home within the next two weeks.

Barbara Prada



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I simply want to thank everyone who supported me by attending the improvisation show at Union Chapel on August 26. I enjoyed myself very much and hope you did as well.

Elza Minor 3rd

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I just wanted to thank all the people who made the 19th Annual Oak Bluffs Columbus Day road race a success Columbus Day weekend. This year we had beautiful weather which led to a great turnout; over 200 participants of all ages braved the loop around East Chop. It was a lot of fun, and the thousands raised for this event will go directly to affordable housing initiatives.

So many people contributed to this event. A big, heartfelt thanks to Roger Wey and the Oak Bluffs race committee who helped organize this race and several other races throughout the year, and the town of Oak Bluffs administration, police and fire departments who were there for us the entire event.

We thank the many participants who woke up early on a Sunday morning to be a part of the race and support the Island Affordable Housing Fund along with the volunteers whose willingness to give their time continues to show how amazing our community is. Lastly, we thank the many business sponsors who help make this event possible with their generosity.

Mark your calendar now for next year’s 20th Anniversary Oak Bluffs Columbus Day road race. A big anniversary calls for a little something special!

Guinevere Cramer

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

October days are warm and sweet,

The grass turns golden at our feet,

The birds now feast the whole day long,

As golden fruit bends branches strong,

And riches of October spill

In golden light on field and hill.

Elisha Smith

Oak Bluffs